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Eight High Schools Unveil
865 Academies Options

Eight High Schools Unveil Academy OptionsEight High Schools Unveil Academy Options

In a milestone for high school transformation in Knox County, the first cohort of schools in The 865 Academies initiative on Thursday unveiled their academy options.

The new initiative aims to equip KCS graduates for success by creating career-themed academies which provide:

  • Authentic, work-based learning;
  • Opportunities for job shadows and career exploration; and
  • Guidance from professionals in their field of interest.


Eight district high schools are part of the initiative’s first cohort, and participated in a celebration at Central High to announce the career-themed academies that will be offered to students.

“When Knox County students receive their diploma, we want to make sure they are prepared to enroll in college, enlist in service to their country, or find employment in a high-wage, in-demand profession,” said superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk. “The 865 Academies initiative will provide students with in-depth exposure to a field that matches their aptitudes and interests, while also supporting the future workforce needs of our community.”

“Educators, students, families, and community leaders all share the same goal – we want to see students succeed,” said Board of Education chair Kristi Kristy. “By partnering with the private sector to help students gain skills and experience, we are also helping our community thrive for generations to come.”

High schools participating in the first 865 Academies cohort, along with their Academy offerings, are:

(A one-page summary of the Academies at each school is available at this link.)

Since August, 9th-graders at these schools have participated in Freshman Academy, in preparation for selecting a pathway for Grades 10-12. Two more district high schools will launch Freshman Academy in 2023, and four more schools in 2024.

“The 865 Academies provide every student in Knox County the opportunity to be successful in college, career and life which is at the core of Knox Education Foundation’s vision,” said KEF CEO Mike Taylor. “KEF is excited to continue our collaboration with Knox County Schools as the high school experience is reimagined to achieve excellent outcomes for all students.”

“As we work to transition Knoxville’s economy in preparation for the next industrial revolution, The 865 Academies will play a pivotal role in building Knoxville’s next-generation talent pipeline. By looking ahead, we can arm students with the skills needed for the future, giving them a competitive advantage in Knoxville’s labor market,” said Mike Odom, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with KCS to address the workforce needs of tomorrow.”

“Programs like this send the message that Knox County will never stop working for our students … providing encouragement, demanding more, leading the way, and opening doors,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.

“The Academy options that will now be available at some Knox County Schools will have a profound impact on students, their families, and our local workforce,” said City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “This educational model really helps cater to the individual goals and interests of the students and will help better prepare them for their next step after high school. I am also hopeful that partnerships with the private sector will help Knoxville retain more of our local talent.”

For more information, including an FAQ, visit

A video stream of the event is available on our YouTube channel.

Photo credit: John Valentine